New Orleans Container Traffic Jumps 11.6 Percent

New Orleans Container Traffic Jumps 11.6 Percent

Container throughput last year at the Port of New Orleans rose 11.6 percent to set a cargo record for the second straight year, as exports, particularly chemical and agriculture products, surged.

Strong imports of coffee and apparel helped boost annual throughput to 476,413 20-foot equivalent units. Container traffic in 2011 was up 46 percent from two years ago.

“Two back-to-back record-setting years is a testament to the hard work of our customers and terminal operators,” Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange said.

CMA CGM last year restarted service to the port by upgrading its Gulf Bridge Express service linking the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and the Caribbean. The French carrier joins Mediterranean Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line, Seaboard Marine and CSAV in serving the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, which is operated jointly by New Orleans Terminal and Ports America.

The port invested $38 million in 2011 to expand the terminal, including the delivery of two new container gantry cranes and the addition of more than four acres to the terminal’s marshalling yard.

In December, The Department of Transportation awarded the port a $16.7 million federal grant to build the Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal, a specialized, 12-acre freight railyard on the terminal that will provide rail access for the six Class 1 railroads that serve the port.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at Follow him on Twitter @petertleach.